Timeshare has been around for many years now. Authorities were initially accused of being slow to act, as the first substantive law concerning the sale and acquisition of timeshare was not introduced until the Timeshare Act 1992. That said when the ball did start rolling many actions followed, with various amendments and continued until the act was replaced by the Timeshare Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulations 2010 which came into force on 23 February 2011.
Timeshare is a product and many suggest the multi-faceted product come in many guises and is fully covered by timeshare law. In reality this is wrong. Timeshare is a product, it marketed, presented and sold like many others. The product is underpinned by a selection of contracts, constitutions warranties, promises and articles of association, all of which are covered by existing legislation, regulation or common law authorities. In short each and every consumer does have vast protection from the dubious timeshare industry and its convoluted salesmen. It’s just a matter of understanding and actioning a claim.
From 1997 laws relating to the purchase of timeshare have been founded on Directives issued by the European Parliament. The first Timeshare Directive was issued in 1994 for implementation in 1997 and was quickly replaced by the second Timeshare Directive (2008/122/EC) which was delivered in 2009 for implementation in 2011.
Government can be slow to act in such circumstances, as the underpinning contractual arrangements lack legal authorities. It is difficult for the many legislators to rely upon credible legal sources and in timeshare a legal stalemate does exist in many facets.
Implementation of the first Directive was in part chaotic with a number of countries modifying the required wording in the Directive. The second Directive does not allow for any variations except those relating to the delivery of enforcement. This ought to ensure that the laws in all EEA countries are unerringly the same, which will minimise consumer confusion and providing traders with a level playing field.
The Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs), deal with the copious amounts of misleading statements and omissions perpetrated by the timeshare industry. Assistance if given in the protections and may also be relevant where a consumer considers that there was misrepresentation. But CPRs are only significantly relevant if you have suffered any loss as a result of the misrepresentation.
The Distance Selling Regulations 2000 does provide timeshare consumers who purchase a timeshare /long term holiday product or service ‘at a distance’ (i.e. telephone, internet etc.) to cancel the purchase.
The Consumer Credit Act 1974 (CCA74) also provides an opportunity for consumers who paid by CREDIT card, or used a ‘linked’ loan for the timeshare purchase, to obtain recompense from the lender via section 75.
The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 provides enforcement authorities with the strong and directional power to stop the use of contracts which are unfairly biased against consumers.